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Dynamic Moral Hazard, Learning and Belief Manipulation

  • Bhaskar, Venkataraman

We study dynamic moral hazard, with symmetric ex ante uncertainty and learning. Unlike Holmstrom's career concerns model, uncertainty pertains to the difficulty of the job rather than the general talent of the agent, so that contracts are required to provide incentives. Since effort is privately chosen, the agent can always cause a misalignment of beliefs between the principal and himself, by shirking. We show that such a misalignment is always profitable for the agent, and must be dissuaded by providing more high powered incentives. However, high powered incentives in the future only aggravate the incentive problem today, so that the problem is compounded as the interaction becomes longer. We also study the benefits of long term contracts with full commitment, and the role of random effort choice.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8948.

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Date of creation: Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8948
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  1. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  2. Murphy, K.J. & Gibbons, R., 1990. "Optimal Incentive Contracts in the Presence of Career Concerns : Theory and Evidence," Papers 90-09, Rochester, Business - Managerial Economics Research Center.
  3. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1988. "Moral Hazard and Renegotiation in Agency Contracts," Working papers 494, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. de la Rosa, Leonidas Enrique, 2011. "Overconfidence and moral hazard," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 429-451.
  5. Malcomson, James M & Spinnewyn, Frans, 1988. "The Multiperiod Principal-Agent Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 391-407, July.
  6. Bengt Holmstrom, 1979. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 74-91, Spring.
  7. Radner, Roy, 1985. "Repeated Principal-Agent Games with Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1173-98, September.
  8. Gustavo Manso, 2011. "Motivating Innovation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(5), pages 1823-1860, October.
  9. Richard A. Lambert, 1983. "Long-Term Contracts and Moral Hazard," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 441-452, Autumn.
  10. Fudenberg, Drew & Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1990. "Short-term contracts and long-term agency relationships," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-31, June.
  11. Thomas Wiseman, 2005. "A Partial Folk Theorem for Games with Unknown Payoff Distributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 629-645, 03.
  12. Meyer, Margaret A & Vickers, John, 1997. "Performance Comparisons and Dynamic Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 547-81, June.
  13. Johannes Horner & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "Incentives for Experimenting Agents," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1726, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  14. Freixas, Xavier & Guesnerie, Roger & Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Planning under Incomplete Information and the Ratchet Effect," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 173-91, April.
  15. Mirrlees, J A, 1999. "The Theory of Moral Hazard and Unobservable Behaviour: Part I," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 3-21, January.
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